All Are Welcome

8am to 9pm Daily


Directions | Grocery Delivery | Kitchen Delivery

Coop Scoop Blog

Coop Scoop Archive Exhibit

By Rebecca Angel

Earlier this spring, the Coop Scoop team decided we wanted to share the wealth of history and information held within the magazine’s archives. Because Coop Scoop launched just one month after Honest Weight was born, our backfiles are a rich source of information on where the coop has been and where we might be headed.! Ruth Ann Smalley, our content editor, suggested we create a visual retrospective of the archives. After chatting with the Honest Arts Committee, a group was formed to make the idea into reality. 

Below is an interview with our core team: Ruth Ann Smalley, Natalie Criscione, and Jeffrey Wright-Sedam. Ruth Ann and Natalie are both part of the Coop Scoop editorial team, and Jeffrey’s artwork has been featured in our pages. They graciously took time to answer my questions:


What is your particular role in this project?


Over the past year, the Scoop team has devoted a lot of thought to the role of the publication, and how best to adapt to the way people seek/receive information now. We are fortunate to have a tremendous legacy of Coop Scoop issues on file from the very beginning, and it was dawning on me what an extraordinary record these provide! They communicate Honest Weight's history in the unique voices of the contributors. With our 50th anniversary on the horizon, this seemed like a great time to take a look back and celebrate this legacy.


We each bring our own understanding and history of the Co-op to this project.  So, we are each looking back into the archives with our own set of lenses.  Even if we all had the same exact role, I think we would approach it differently.  

We have been familiarizing ourselves with the first five years of the Coop Scoop, reading it, noting changes from issue to issue, identifying patterns and trends, comparing it with today’s themes, and discovering what stands out for us.  

I have a notebook where I write the names of various themes, articles, or recipes I come across.  I also jot down quotes that seem meaningful, humorous, or pivotal in some way. I am drawn to the layouts, graphics, and language of the early Coop Scoop

I am not yet sure if I know my role, but I guess it is evolving into that of historian/curator/layout editor (I am hesitant to pin a title/role to myself because it might change from day to day).  I am interested in the Co-op’s beginnings in the Bicentennial year 1976, when politics, arts, technology, energy, health, and social unrest were hot topics—wow, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I am often struck by the parallels between then and now.  


 For my part, I am working to create design ideas and to possibly upgrade the hallway gallery space for more public awareness.


How has the project evolved during the process?


We naively thought we could dip in and "cover" the whole history in one shot. However, as we began exploring, it became clear that there was way too much cool stuff, and way too little time to condense it into posters by our November exhibit date. To really do it justice, we decided to start from the beginning, and work on it by decades. This fall's exhibit will feature posters based on the 70s content: 1976 through 1980.


Initially, we thought we would focus on the history of the Coop Scoop in its entirety.  However, as we read through the early editions, we found ourselves not only overwhelmed by the prospect of summarizing the entire history in a couple of posters, but also becoming so interested in the first five years of the Coop Scoop that we felt we needed to focus on just that for now.  

The new Co-op had to grapple with all the issues involved in managing a small business, but without a framework in place.  The founders were creating the framework as they went along. And it wasn’t just what was happening in someone’s living room or at the first store on Quail Street, it was also their framework within the community—who they were and what they represented within the neighborhood and Albany at large.

So, we find ourselves continually discovering a broader perspective about this project than we had originally intended.  


Taking a deep dive into the archives is very revealing. These newsletters are like the foundation of what Honest Weight has become. How we gather and distill the history and present it in poster form is still being determined.


What do you hope viewers will take away from viewing the finished posters?


A sense of wonderment that this small group of people got this all off the ground at all! And a great appreciation for the sense of humor, the social awareness, and the strong commitment of the community in getting the Coop Scoop into the hands of our readers for so many years. I mean, these folks were working with typewriters and mimeograph machines! It's really quite a remarkable achievement.


I think in many ways, the early members of the Co-op saw themselves as a movement—a grassroots movement.  I hope viewers look at the posters and feel as if they too are part of the Co-op’s history. I hope they will walk away feeling enriched, empowered, and transformed in some way. 

It is easy to take this history for granted, but when you realize that from the moment of conception, early members recognized the importance of documenting their experience—on a typewriter!—and publishing and sharing it every month, you gain an appreciation for what was and what is. 

There are so many seeds to be planted—both literally and figuratively! 


I hope everyone who sees the posters will find connections with our brothers and sisters who began this experiment and find ways to continue to work as a community in the years to come.


Any future ideas? 


Well, of course we hope to continue working on the 80s, 90s, etc.! Those of us working on it are finding it so eye-opening, fascinating, and fun. 


Beyond this initial installation, we have discussed the idea of the Archive Project extending into the future as an annual event, perhaps highlighting one decade of the Coop Scoop at a time.  Like the publication itself, the project will surely evolve as well. We are staying open to possibilities. 



Thank you so much! The hard work of these three member-owners is a continuation of the work of the founders of this store. I’m sure our readers are excited to see the Coop Scoop Archive poster exhibit on display soon!

Rebecca Angel has been a part of Honest Weight for twenty years and is Managing Editor of the Coop Scoop. When not at the co-op, Rebecca is a teacher, musician, and writer, currently working on a memoir about her experience with Cushing’s Syndrome.

Jeffrey Wright-Sedam lives and works in the Capital District. Jeffrey is seeking to find connection and presence every day. He enjoys being the father of two grown sons. His hobbies include music, meditation, the outdoors, and living simply.

Natalie Criscione remembers shopping at the Quail st. Honest Weight location. She wears many hats: educator, writer, artist, musician, property manager, advocate, and volunteer. She loves being part of the Coop Scoop team!

Ruth Ann Smalley, PhD, is our Content Editor. An educator and writer with a 4-digit Co-op member number from the early 90s, Ruth Ann offers wellness, writing, and creativity coaching through her practice at or

« Back to Coop Scoop Blog